Work/Life Balance

Today’s Sunday Times Style section (a ridiculous fucking rag if ever there was one) had an interesting article about how to maintain your life in the face of demands from your job.

Most of it was vaguely interesting, but right at the end there was a piece from Tom Hodgkinson, author of The Idle Parent, which made a whole bunch of sense to me:

The problem with work is that it tends to remove your dignity. Therefore you must find ways of reclaiming your dignity. Go backwards in all things: wear tailor-made suits, use a fountain pen, walk through the park instead of taking public transport, keep a copy of Byron with you, go to art galleries at lunchtime, enjoy an afternoon pint in the pub, sneak in a cinema visit during the working day. You must transform yourself in your mind from put-upon wage slave to modern anthropologist. Detach yourself. And force yourself to leave work punctually.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post which elicited some comments suggesting that advertising creatives should have a union. Of course, the idea is laughable. Our job is ridiculously cushy when compared with real jobs, such as, well, every other occupation on the planet, so our demands would be pathetic. However, if I were to join such a body, the above passage would form a fundamental part of what I would like to see it stand for.

It’s not just the parts that seem somewhat easy (trips to cinemas etc.); it’s the change of attitude, the hope that living a fuller life away from the office will make you better at the job. Is it a coincidence that the current squeezing of the creative’s time and freedom has happened at the same time as the worst period of creativity in the history of modern British advertising?


Does anyone in charge care?

Maybe not.